Have you played Betrayal at House on the Hill yet? This clever little game first hit our gaming table back in 2004 and has been a staple in our collection ever since. While not without its flaws, it is a fairly unique game in its own right.
Betrayal at House on the Hill starts off as a fully cooperative game where players are exploring an old mansion. However, at some point in the game, one or more of the players will turn traitor and everything goes haywire from there. To say there is some excitement and tension in the game would be an understatement.
This past October brought us the very first expansion for Betrayal at House on the Hill, Widow’s Walk. That’s right, it took about 12 years for the first expansion for this game to hit our tabletops. So enough waiting, let’s dive in and see what’s new and if it’s worth adding to your base game.
Widow’s Walk comes with a few new components to play with. First, there are the new room tiles. 20 in all and it also includes a new floor, the roof landing, leads to and from the upper landing. Any room that can be placed on the upper floor can also be placed here.
More interesting is the new dumb waiter icon. This lets you move from that room to a landing (either up or down a floor). It was definitely nice to have another way to move around the mansion.
Also included are more omen, event, and item cards. I was happy to see more of these, as it helped increase the variety in the game.
The most notable inclusion are the two new haunt books (Traitor and Survivor). Widow’s Walk includes 50 new haunts for the players to explore. The rule book even includes a variant of only playing with the new haunts if you want to see what Widow’s Walk has to offer right away. That was a nice option as I’m sure many player will want to dive right in.
The only thing I felt that was missing from Widow’s Walk were new ability markers for the player boards. The ones included with the base game are nothing short of terrible, being way to loose. We have long since ditched the physical sliders and moved to an app on our phones to track stats. We were just bumping them too much and losing our place.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
As I want to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, I’m not going to go into detail on any of the new haunts. We have obviously not played all 50 of them at the time of this writing, but have played a few.
Overall, I’ve found the ones I’ve played to be enjoyable and defiantly fit in with the feel of the game. There were some nice variety in the haunts we rolled up and I’m absolutely looking forward to trying more of them.
Interestingly, the haunts in Widow’s Walk were written by a variety of board game designers. In addition to game designer Mike Selinker, you’ll find haunts from Rob Daviau (Pandemic: Legacy, Seafall), Max Temkin (Cards Against Humanity), and Jonathan Gilmour (Dead of Winter) just to name a few.
However, much like the core game, we’ve also found a few errors and rules questions in the haunts. While I was hoping that there would be better quality control with the expansion, I’ve almost come to expect that from Betrayal at House on the Hill. The original edition had so many errors in the tomes that they had to create an updated edition. Even the rules forum over on BGG for Widow’s Walk has quite a few haunt questions. Here’s hoping the release an errata soon.
Yet at the end of the day, Widow’s Walk hits my gold standard for what I want from an expansion. Add to my replay value without greatly increasing the complexity. I want more from my game without having to feel like I’m teaching a second one in the process. And on that front, Widow’s Walk absolutely succeeds.
Even with new mechanics added in the game, the dumb waiter, the tracking tokens, and the attic all make sense within the normal confines of the game. Players should be able to toss their expansion components in the box with the base game and never look back. The new set of rules are only a few paragraphs so there would be no reason to ever not use the expansion.
If you are a fan of Betrayal at House on the Hill then you are going to want to pick up the Widow’s Walk expansion. It’s more of what you love already that basically doubles the replay value of the game.
On the other side of the coin, if you didn’t much care for Betrayal at House on the Hill, than there is really nothing here that is going to change your mind. The core game play is essentially unchanged.
That being said, it was nice to see some new content coming out for this unique board game. I’m not sure why it took over a decade, but we definitely had fun with the expansion haunts and look forward to trying more of them in the future. And for its affordable price point, there is no reason not to grab a copy of Widow’s Walk if you are a fan of the game.
If you’d like to pick up Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, you can get it for about $20.
• No replacement slider clips
• Errors and confusion in some of the new haunts.